Social media is altering the human brain consistently. While it has brought the world a lot closer, social media has one major disadvantage. It is ‘push marketing’.
The world saw promise in Linkedin being a professional network, but since the introduction of the feed, a lot of what you see on your Linkedin timeline is push marketing.
Lets put this into perspective. The context of marketing here is meaningless messages that are pushed with the intent of attracting someone’s attention on a “call to action”.
In the most recent Facebook f8 conference, on day 1, Mark Zuckerberg, the Co-founder and CEO completely ignored the News Feed, which is a central pillar of the social network. This signals a possible re-imagining of how to make the social network more meaningful for people.
Relationships come first for SMEs
Kumaravel CK, Co-founder of Natural Salon, remarked, “Today we are what we are because of the meaningful relationships that we have established over several years with all the Natural Salon franchise owners. Every woman in India that owns a Natural Salon franchise is an entrepreneur first. This is empowering and for us at Natural Salon, empowering women entrepreneurs and creating new jobs in India carries a lot of meaning. We invest in communication that meaningfully engages the world around us.”
Marketing to meaning conversations is a fundamental cultural shift
Most SMEs especially in the B2B space are now changing their approach from marketing to meaningful conversations. This is evident from how SME owners are spreading more valuable knowledge. They are also training their sales teams to be meaningfully engaged with their Linkedin networks and not push-market and sell.
Have you recently un-followed someone on social media?
Several people have begun un-following their connections on social media. This is fundamentally opposite to what social media is supposed to do. Un-following is the effect of random information that has no relevance or value for the consumer.
Fake likes and fake app downloads
One major impact of push-marketing is the phenomena of fake-likes and fake-app-downloads. This is real. Large companies are spending several million dollars in the race to acquire new users/ customers. This creates unreal milestones for SMEs and emerging companies that are trying to be truly valuable.
This is why the case for meaningful communication is building up a lot more compared to push-marketing. SME owners and founders rely on the power of meaningful communication to engage their customers. This communication helps them build trust and grow.
How to use social media to communicate meaningfully and not market?
SME owners and startup founders have a unique advantage of communicating without putting a façade over what they want to express. They understand that their honesty is what their customers hire them for.
Abhishek Rungta, Founder and CEO, Indus Net Technologies shares, “We win when our customers win. This is our core culture. All our communication on social media is with the hashtag #DigitalSuccess. We are creating meaningful conversations by owning a hashtag and making it incredibly valuable for anyone around the world that find it relevant.We host weekly Linkedin Q&A’s, tweet-chats with CIOs and Facebook LIVE sessions with leaders on how they are creating #DigitalSuccess. When the intent is to add value, you go from marketing to meaningful conversations.”
The top 5 steps to create meaningful conversations on social media
1. Establish “one brand name” that resonates with what your customers will find valuable
2. Create a hashtag with this name (do not stop even if there are other people using the hashtag too)
3. Design a ‘talk-show’ like format that you can continue for the next 1 year. Invite global leaders in your domain to appear on your show
4. Videos and podcasts are the future of communication. 80% of your communication should leverage these formats.
5. It is not how fancy your show looks, it’s the content / script that matters. Be very short and precise.
Can meaningful communication help SMEs in raising funds?
Meaningful communication can go a long way in helping SMEs in raising funds. A powerful example of this is crowdfunding.
GovindaGiri, founder SagoonInc that runs the Sagoon app shared “when we started our company, all we had was the vision. We went to hundreds and thousands of people with the vision and the purpose. Today we feel extremely confident because 3,000 people invested in our vision. Their belief in us has made us more humble and focused. Even to this date I believe in telling people my real story and inspiring them to be part of building the future of social media from South Asia. We communicate via the Rise and Shine show.This is a talk show where we invite our investors and believers to share their stories and experiences.”
SMEs have the advantage to leverage the new media very effectively as they can move fast and create highly meaningful communication.
The Internet is undergoing the third wave, which is all about meaningful communication. Most businesses will realize the power of creating trust with honesty, discipline and value.
To remain relevant and win in the new world, SMEs must create meaningful communication on video and podcasts. This will enable them to breakthrough the clutter and be valuable to the world around them.